Though we use the terms interchangeably, fools and idiots are opposites. “Simpleton” would be a more accurate term than “idiot” in this context, but Village Simpleton doesn’t have the same history and literary resonance as Village Idiot, and I would rapidly grow tired of having to explain what I meant if my title were Assistant Village Simpleton.
Fools believe they are wise. They search for the abstruse or esoteric, whose very mention brands them as someone in the know, much like poseur ordering wine, or everyone talking about the theater. Full of themselves and impressed with their own deep thoughts, they make just enough sense to be irritating. Simpletons aren’t sure whether their comments are intelligent or not, they just go with what seems sensible. Fools order a Syrah because it’s from the Northern Rhone Valley, simpletons order the Shiraz because they had it once at someone’s house and liked it. It’s the same grape, grown in a different place. Many people claim to know the difference. I don’t know if they do or not. I don’t. I don’t remember whether I liked shiraz or not, which any idiot would do, and why I’m still only the assistant.